It’s party season around here. My little beartiger, the ever cheeky Master N, is about to turn two. Two! The time has passed in a blink. Suddenly he is running, jumping and talking in sentences. Coming out with things like, “Whatcha doing Daddy?” and, while scoffing dinner the other night, “It’s delicious!” He makes me fall about laughing pretty much every day. I am ridiculously proud of my beautiful blue-eyed boy.
Party season kicked off last weekend with our mothers’ group joint birthday bash. We hired a beachside scout hall, brought along play tents, ball pits, bubbles, music and party food, and then stood around catching up while our little mites ran free for a couple of hours. Yes, this is my idea of a pretty good time these days!
I made the cake. Last year we were a bit disorganised and ended up with (gasp) supermarket sponges as an afterthought. It didn’t really matter then because the babies were still babies but this year I thought we could have some fun with it.
Then I ran out of time. So typical! So, no animal designs or fiddly shapes were considered as they take an eternity! This is the reason I know: the scene on the kitchen bench last year after midnight when Mr LP, my Mum and I finally finished Master N’s train cake.
Note the wineglasses – an essential if any shred of humour is to be found in arguing over the correct shade of red frosting and placement of ornamental smarties at 11.45pm.
Forgive the presentation in a box. I wasn’t risking moving it onto a cake plate! I had to settle for cake plate pics with the leftovers.
It still looked pretty cool on the day. I think I got away with it :)
That’s one cake down. Now I have Master N’s upcoming party to plan and another cake to decide on. I grew up with Mum making birthday cakes for us each year (usually chosen by us kids based on the quantity of lollies involved) and now I love doing them too – from scanning the birthday cake books to buying all the sweets and working out how to do it.
How about you? Do you like to get your hands in the frosting and DIY cake, or do you prefer to save time and buy yours?
Rainbow Cake (Gluten Free)
(Recipe adapted from Whisk Kid’s Rainbow Cake and Donna Hay Kids 2011 Pink Layer Cake)
• You will need 3 x 22cm round cake tins for this recipe
• This cake requires two quantities of the Basic Vanilla Cake. I recommend making the six cakes in two lots, baking three at a time.
2 x quantities basic vanilla cake
1 x quantity vanilla frosting
1 x quantity white chocolate freckles
Gel Food Colours in purple, blue, green, orange, yellow and red
Make two batches of basic vanilla cakes, using six different colours of gel based food colouring.
Cool all six cakes entirely before assembling the final cake.
Place purple layer first on a cake board or your serving plate. Use a pallet knife to spread over a modest layer of frosting. Repeat with remaining layers in order of blue, green, yellow, orange, and finishing with red on top.
Spread the sides and top of cake with remaining icing, creating a smooth finish as you go. A good tip is to run the pallet knife under hot water, dry thoroughly with a tea towel, then use it to smooth the frosting.
Decorate the base of the cake with a single layer of white chocolate freckles.
Basic Vanilla Cake:
250g butter, softened
385g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups rice flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup milk
Preheat oven to 160C.
Grease and line the base of three x 22cm round cake tins with non-stick baking paper.
Place the butter, caster sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined each time.
Add half the sifted flour and baking powder and half the milk and mix on low speed until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour, baking powder and milk.
Divide the mixture between three bowls. Colour each mixture accordingly, using one to two teaspoons of gel colouring to achieve a vibrant colour. No pastels here!
Pour cake batters into tins and bake for 20-22 mins or until a cake skewer comes out clean.
Cool in tins before turning onto wire racks.
500g butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 cups icing sugar
Beat butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer for 4-6 minutes until as white as possible.
Mixing on a low speed, add one tablespoon of icing sugar at a time until all incorporated.
Turn up mixing speed and beat for about 8 minutes until light and fluffy.
White Chocolate Freckles
100g white chocolate
Hundreds and thousands
Melt chocolate gently in a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. When most of the chocolate is melted, remove from the heat and stir gently until fully melted.
Line a baking tray with a sheet of non-stick baking paper.
Place chocolate in a small piping bag (I use glad sandwich zip lock bags and snip the end off).
Pipe medium freckle sized discs (or however large you want your freckles to be) onto the baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle over hundreds and thousands. Leave in a cool dry place to set.